Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- Things were looking pretty dim for the Mount Anthony Union High School field hockey team.
Down 1-0 to Otter Valley at halftime, the Patriots looked devoid of ideas on how to crack the Otter's defense.
But in the second half, the Patriots regrouped and found a new plan of attack, and it paid off as the team stormed back to win the game 2-1.
"When we had the opportunity in the circle we took the shots," coach Laura Paro said. "Kudos to our team, they dug deep today."
The first goal would come through Margaret Curtin.
Curtin, playing off of the right post of Otter Valley's cage, was open when Makayla Farrara brought the ball into the attacking circle on the left. Farrara hit a pass towards Curtin, lifting the ball off the ground and over the top of two Otter Valley sticks. When the ball landed to Curtin, the sophomore let go of one shot that Otter Valley goalie Myliah McDonough was able to save. But on the rebound, Curtin dribbled the ball out and sent her shot to the right of McDonough, and into the cage.
"I hit it to [McDonough's] pads," Curtin said. "Then I realized I couldn't do that, so I pulled it out and hit it to the right of her."
From there, the Patriots kept pushing to find the winner.
It would come nine minutes later.
With just under 17 minutes left in the game, senior Rachel Holland had the ball in a similar position to where Farrara had it on the first goal. But instead of a pass in to Curtin, Holland ripped a shot.
The ball travelled through the zone, and found its home on the far sidenetting, giving the Patriots a 2-1 lead they would hold on to.
Defensively, senior goalie Leah Holland had a monster game in the cage to keep Otter Valley to only one goal. In total, she stopped nine shots on the day.
"Leah was critical today making decisions," Paro said. "That was the key today."
In the first half, Otter Valley would capitalize on the one moment where Leah Holland and the defense were not on song.
Courtney Bushey played a ball in to the center of the circle. The Patriots defense lost sight of the ball, and when it fell to Allison Lowell was there to smash home a shot on an open net.
The Otters would control much of the rest of the first half. The Otters would have eight corners during the first half, but the team could not find a way to capitalize on the chances.
"We were an evenly matched team," Otter Valley coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell said. "There were some unfortunate situations that took place, and we ended up with two goals less than we needed."
In the opening minutes of the game, Leah Holland had to come up with back-to-back saves on a corner to keep it a scoreless contest, and late in the first half Lowell was set up again in front of goal. But the attacker was unable to handle the pass, and the defense was able to clear.
"Leah Olansky stepped up today," Paro said. "Claire Taub have a very good game today, and so did Alyssa Snyder. They were very solid back there, they held it together."
With time expired in the second half, Otter Valley had one final shot to tie the game up on a corner.
The ball would work itself around to Brittany Bushey, and Bushey would put a shot in towards Leah Holland. But Holland was up to the task, and her kick save helped the Patriots clear the ball and end the game.
Mount Anthony improves to 8-2 with the win.